Waking up in night


Waking up in the middle of the night can be influenced by various factors, and different strategies may be employed to manage this common occurrence:

  1. Normalcy of Waking Up: It's natural and normal to wake up briefly during the night. Almost everyone wakes up at the end of each 90-minute sleep cycle to make a postural movement, though they may not remember it. It's also normal to wake up once or twice to urinate. These awakenings are not necessarily indicative of a sleep disorder, but rather a part of natural sleep patterns. Particularly as we age, children usually have more continuous sleep, but brief awakenings are normal for all ages 1.

  2. Social and Cultural Factors: Andrew Huberman describes that waking up in the middle of the night could reflect a misalignment with natural sleep patterns influenced by artificial light and modern lifestyles. He explains how people have deviated from the natural pattern of sleeping with the setting and rising of the sun, partly due to interaction with screens and staying up late. He suggests that modern schedules, which tend to extend nightly awake periods and delay bedtime, can cause a misalignment with the body's natural sleep-wake cycle 2.

  3. Morning Sunlight: Huberman advocates for viewing morning sunlight as it reinforces the body's circadian rhythms, which can benefit both daytime wakefulness and the ability to fall and stay asleep at night. If you must wake up before sunrise, turn on artificial lights to promote wakefulness, but once the sun is out, get outside to view it directly. Too much artificial light at night can disrupt these rhythms 3.

    Sleep Interruptions

    Andrew and Matt discuss the impact of waking up in the middle of the night on sleep quality and overall health. They explain how it is normal to wake up briefly during the night and offer insights on how to improve sleep hygiene.

    Huberman Lab

    Dr. Matthew Walker: The Science & Practice of Perfecting Your Sleep | Huberman Lab Podcast #31
  4. Hydration and Urination: To manage nighttime urination, which often disrupts sleep, Huberman suggests hydrating sufficiently during the day, limiting fluid intake in the late evening, and sipping fluids slowly rather than gulping them in the hours leading up to bedtime 4.

  5. Personal Sleep Habits: Huberman shares his own sleep habits as an example, noting that he sometimes wakes up during the night. He mentions that everyone wakes up periodically during their sleep, which is completely normal 5.

  6. Nighttime Anxiety: For those who experience anxiety upon waking in the middle of the night, Huberman advises against trusting any thoughts during that time and suggests trying non-sleep deep rest protocols to help fall back asleep, such as Hypnosis apps, Yoga nidra, or scripts by Michael Seeley 6.

  7. Practical Sleep Solutions: If you wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep, it might help to go to bed earlier. Otherwise, getting more bright light in the evening hours could delay melatonin release and adjust your sleep pattern. Should you wake up at night, keep lights dim when necessary and consider non-sleep deep rest (NSDR) protocols if you struggle to fall back asleep 7.

  8. Optimizing Sleep Patterns: Huberman emphasizes the importance of timekeepers (like morning light and social interactions), feeding cues, and avoiding bright lights at night for optimizing sleep patterns. Bright lights, especially between 11:00 p.m. and 04:00 a.m., can cause lasting disruptions to mood and learning abilities 8.

It's important to maintain good sleep hygiene, manage light exposure, and adhere to natural sleep-wake rhythms where possible to minimize instances of waking up during the night.